“THE GOLDEN AGE”
DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL
PROVINCE OF NIGERIA, 1963 – 2013
The Daughters of Charity in Nigeria, celebrating 50 years of God’s faithfulness in the service of persons who are poor!
For fifty Golden years on Nigerian soil
We have laboured growing from strength to strength
Praise to the One who has brought us thus far
Whose love grows wings on the weary
Brings hope to the discouraged.
This was the refrain of the Jubilee Anthem composed by Nigerian Daughters of Charity and which was sung from November 29th 2012 – November 29th 2013, remembering our founders whose humour and talents lifted our spirit, remembering our first Sisters who arrived Nigeria, in a world of poverty, violence and pain, to love and serve Christ in the poor.
Three Daughters of Charity, Sr. Gabriel Hughes (RIP), Sr. Catherine Gaynor and Sr. Alice Daly arrived in Nigeria on 29th September 1964, from the Province of Great Britain and Ireland. They opened a Domestic and Commercial school for young girls/women;thus, the famous Adiaha Obong Secondary Commercial School was born. “Adiaha Obong” Community became the first house of the Daughters of Charity in Nigeria. On 15th March 1974, the First Nigerian girls to join the Daughters of Charity were incorporated into the Company. They were Sr. Justina Arima, Sr. Philomena Okwu and Sr. Theresa Madu. From then on, there has been constant admission of young women from Nigeria and recently, from Ghana as well, into the Company.
The Golden Jubilee Celebration is marking God’s faithfulness to his Daughters whom he has invited to assist him in the service of persons who are poor. The year-long celebration featured various activities which included:
The inauguration of the Golden Jubilee Year: (29th November 2012 at Adiaha Obong, Uyo, the first house of the Daughters of Charity opened in Nigeria). Within that celebration, the long dreamt Association of the friends of the Daughters of Charity was inaugurated. These are men and women who voluntarily offer their moral and financial assistance to the Daughters of Charity in their service of persons who are poor. Members come from all over the country and beyond.
Creating awareness: The preparatory stage was used to disseminate information concerning the life and works of the Daughters of Charity; appeals were made especially for the Jubilee project which is the building of an Inclusive Education Centre for people with and without disability. The response was huge!
- “Justice, Peace and Collaboration” facilitated by Sr. Bernadette MacMahon, DC
- “Our Founders on Jubilee”: facilitated by Fr. Urban Osuji, CM
TRIDUUM: A three-day celebration to mark the Grand Finale of the Jubilee was organized as follows:
27th November 2013 – FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL/SERVICE OF RECONCILIATION:
28th November, 2013:- FEAST OF ST. CATHERINE LABOURE
29TH November 2013: GRAND FINALE
The joy of the jubilee was the centre-stage occupied by our friends who are poor, those for whom we exist. They participated in both the social and the Spiritual. We had our collaborators of different cadres present – Agency representatives, Church representatives, NGO’s, Embassies, Archbishops and Bishops, Priests, Religious, Lay faithful, journalists, Associations, individuals, friends and well-wishers. It was indeed a glorious moment and everyone enjoyed the celebration.
The building of an Inclusive School in Etche, Rivers State, which was the Golden Jubilee Project, was greatly supported by the guests through donations and pledges.
We were invited, in the words of St. Vincent, to go back to our roots. The jubilee is a great opportunity to renew our lives of Prayer, Community and Service.
The celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Daughters of Charity’s foundation in Nigeria, on the 29th November 2013, coincides with the 380th anniversary of the Foundation of the Company in France on 29th November 1633. In the light of this, Nigeria is still young though now an adult of 50 years who has already begun to beget children!
After all this, what can we say? Glory be to him whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can dare to ask or think of; Glory to him in the Church and in Christ Jesus, forever and ever. Amen!